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Yes China! An English Teacher's Love-Hate Relationship with a Foreign Country [Kindle Edition]

Clark Nielsen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.95
Kindle Price: $4.99
You Save: $6.96 (58%)

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Book Description

Yes China! is a humorous, self-deprecating, and brutally honest travelogue/memoir about teaching English in modern China. The author, an American fish out of water, shares a unique perspective on the Chinese classroom as well as what it's like to grow up post Mormonism and how living abroad helped him overcome those insecurities.

If you have any interest in what it's like to teach English in China, then this book is for you. Nielsen describes in vivid detail moments from his elementary, middle school, and adult training school classes, warts and all. He does not shy away from including his own frustrations and shortcomings, but through those trials and errors, a love is born.

Nielsen first went to China in 2005 as an immature, 21-year old college dropout and newly ex-Mormon. With no prior teaching experience and no understanding of the Chinese language or China in general, he was absolutely ill-prepared. But over the next five years, he continued to make more trips to China, signing up for more teaching stints in other cities, slowly growing and coming to appreciate what it is that China could teach him. Because, obviously, he couldn't teach China.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"I'm giggling in bed, I haven't laughed with an author in a long time. Dozens of screaming Chinese kids versus one Mormon kid who sorta-kinda knows what he's doing. The way he--sparingly and tastefully--writes in accents makes parts of the book hilarious. I feel like I'm listening to a rollicking, self-deprecating story." -- The Uncustomary Book Review

"Overall, I liked Yes China! and would recommend it to someone who wants an account of what it's like being an ESL teacher in China. It's a good effort from a talented young author. I'll definitely be interested to see what Clark writes next." -- Mark's China Blog

"I would still recommend it to people considering teaching English in China, or current teachers who are looking for someone to commiserate with. It can be easily finished in a couple of sittings, and is worth the few hours it takes to complete it." -- Seeing Red in China

Product Details

  • File Size: 2272 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Nielsen (November 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005DIXQL4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,970 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great point of view September 27, 2011
By scott
Format:Paperback
I've never really wanted to travel to china, it's never been on my list of top 10 places I want to go before I die. This book changed that. I feel like I now have a much better understanding of a culture that vastly different from mine. I get to appreciate the comments about Mormon culture in Utah because that's where I grew up and feel like the author and i shared a lot of similar experiences.
The writing style of this book is much like sitting and listening to a good friend tell you a story. It's funny, happy, heart breaking and if public bathrooms bother you it's gut wrenching.
Just ordered another book by this author and I'm excited to get it.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit immature and hard to enjoy the writing style September 23, 2012
Format:Paperback
Have to start this by echoing a couple opinions from another review here by "HombreTel". I too found the in class chapters somewhat boring and very repetitive, to the point they all seemed to be more or less the same chapter and eventually found myself skim reading them as the book went on. As opposed to some of the chapters about life outside class which were far more interesting.

I was also lost on the sense of humour in the book. The author was clearly trying VERY HARD to be funny but it seemed somewhat contrived, rather than a natural ability to write in witty way, and it came off pretty goofy and childish.

He also had an annoying and frequent habit of almost self-narrating within his own story by continuously making conversational style comments to what he'd written, such as:
- "If I didn't make any further attempts to talk to her (and can you see why?) she'd say ..."
- "... I almost lost control of my bladder (and, if you read the last chapter, you know how easily that could have happened)"
... and this type of "parenthesised commentary" happened regularly throughout the whole book, which made for a frustrating read and spoiled the flow of his writing, for me anyway.

Also, whether to prove his point about some Chinese people there not speaking English well or just for added "humour", he'd write their statements in an almost mocking manner e.g.:
- "The Chinese teacher stopped me in the hall ... "Ze students are bad students. I'm sorry. Zey not very good wis English"
... which happened a lot, and he did this literal transcription of his students' obviously not fluent speech also. Again this seemed a bit immature to me and not particularly respectful either.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really loved this book. I don't know what is so entertaining about someone being hassled by a classroom full of Chinese kids, but something about it is pretty amusing.

One example of what I like in the book: Nielsen does an activity on the board where he writes I ___YOU on the board and asks students to name a word they could fill in the blank with. "Knife!" shouts one of the students immediately. "I knife you? Uh.. I guess you could say that."

But while his students range from endearing to amusing to annoying, the book isn't about making fun of "Engrish" or belittling English learners--Nielsen is a lot harder on himself in the book than he is on his students--it's about the things that Nielsen learned being in a foreign country and away from his family and friends for the first time.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone considering teaching English in a foreign country, or a young person who wants to live in China for a while, or anyone who has visited Asia and will get a good laugh as they remember the first time they celebrated an American holiday overseas or had to use a public restroom that they weren't prepared for.

I'd also recommend it to those who like the writing style of Bill Bryson, author of "A Walk in the Woods".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously funny August 27, 2011
By --LR
Format:Paperback
Clark is hilarious and honest! His book includes discussions about his English classes at most age levels, which are adventures of their own. He also interlaces chapters about his new surroundings and experiences out of the classroom. We get to listen in on his perceptions of China, the U.S., and maybe even himself.

This is a really fun read for anyone who is interested in China or breaking out of their comfort zone!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are so many books available about teaching English in China (I've read or tried to read a bunch of them) and it's difficult to say why I think this one is worth your time. The author is just such a likable guy that you can't help but get interested in what happens to him. He seems rather mature and thoughtful for his age. This may come from being raised Mormon in a largely Mormon area but with an atheist father. Sort of a minority within a minority which must have been complicated. He left the church as an adult, but went to China as part of a group of Mormon young people. Probably not the best idea, since he was shunned by the others in the group.

He'll have an occasional beer, but this is not a series of binge-drinking-while-prowling-for-sex stories (which describes many books by American men teaching English abroad!) He really tried to do a good job under difficult circumstances and you have to admire that. I got interested in his account of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying a Chinese woman and was glad to be able to read more about them in his second book YES! THAILAND If you like to read about Asia, don't miss PRETTY WOMAN SPITTING. You won't get it for free, but it's well worth the 99 cents.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I found the book so horrible that I erased it from my kindle after...
I found the book so horrible that I erased it from my kindle after reading 1/3 of it. Most to blame are the people to send such an incompetent, ignorant and immature person be... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Spyglass
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I used to live in northeast China the biggest city you've never heard of, Changchun. Reading his book was an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
Written in a different style.... I like this book and will go look art his others. Seriously, I'm cheap but this book is under priced.
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair read
It's an interesting look inside teaching English to school age children in China. Its a little slow at times.
Published 5 months ago by AddisonJ
2.0 out of 5 stars An uncomfortable experience that tries to hide behind a couple of...
This is the type of book that you have to take with a grain of salt. It takes a lot of guts to write your memoirs and put your thoughts and feelings about a subject out there for... Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Jordan
2.0 out of 5 stars I usually enjoy these kind of books but I didn't enjoy this ...
I usually enjoy these kind of books but I didn't enjoy this one at all. Most people who travel to work in another country are positive people and he just seemed to hate it from... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Joann R. Greene
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough for a few reasons.
I had a tough time reading this book. Being an English teacher, and having taught in other countries, Clark's negative attitude about so many things was difficult to swallow. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ryan
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT MY CUP OF TEA
I guess because I spent so much time teaching in China, i found his experiences less than interesting. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Terri Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Found myself laughing out loud- because I experienced some of the same...
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. I would have thought some of these stories to have been blown out of proportion but I know first hand that it is sadly... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Sara K
4.0 out of 5 stars a good relaxing read
fascinating, cute, funny and a good read. He speaks from something which he did not know but became aware from simply being there. Read more
Published 18 months ago by TootSweet
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More About the Author

Clark Nielsen is an American-born author and web/game developer who loves to travel as much as he loves to write. He has over two years of experience teaching English abroad, which was the subject of his best-selling memoir, Yes China. Presently, he and his wife live in Los Angeles, where Clark continues to spend his free time writing science fiction and fantasy. His influences include David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, Jack Vance, and Eiichiro Oda.


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